Thursday, June 6, 2013

Labor Big Loser in L.A. Mayor’s Race

Organized labor bet on City Controller, Wendy Greuel, with millions of direct and independent PAC contributions to become the next mayor of Los Angeles. Their involvement became the main issue, and in a low turnout election, voters rejected early frontrunner Greuel and elected City Council member, Eric Garcetti, by 8 points (54% to 46%).

Early on, Greuel managed to unite both key elements in the business establishment with the most powerful local union, the Department of Water and Power. But, Garcetti, seeing an opening, went after the union connection at the moment underfunded pensions and government salary negotiations were major concerns for more fiscally conscious residents. Utility rates, which had been increasing steadily, were the catalyst that convinced a majority of homeowners Greuel might not negotiate with the tax and ratepayers’ interests in mind. A specific attack advertisement by Garcetti on organized labor’s Super PAC spending was the coup de gras.

The L.A. election serves an important message for Colorado municipal and state officials thinking of actions and legislation that tilt negotiations for government salaries and pensions toward organized self-interested groups.

Interestingly, Garcetti represents a new post-Latino leader. There was an initial discussion about if a person from an Italian grandfather and Mexican grandmother who lived in Mexico and a father and Jewish-American mother is sufficiently Hispanic to command the passion of voters from L.A.’s powerful Hispanic community.

The election results show Garcetti was the perfect candidate for the new diverse urban population. He won Eastside Latino and Westside Jewish votes, along with a significant bloc of fiscal conservatives and homeowners in L.A.’s huge Valley electorate.

See Los Angeles Times:
L.A. mayor’s race: It’s Eric Garcetti by wide margin
Steve Lopez: Labor unions the big loser in mayor’s race
USC Price/L.A. Times poll: Garcetti’s lead over Greuel at 7 percentage points in mayoral race
USC Price/L.A. Times poll calls Los Angeles mayoral race

No comments: